I am Susie, lifelong sailor and lover of all things ocean going. I started sailing with my family when I was 3 years old.
My parents are sailors so every holiday and opportunity we had was on the water. Weekends were at the local sailing club, where I got my first boat when I was 11 — a Laser 1. We had a competitive fleet with a handful of lasers, often racing against other clubs in the area. At 17 I moved to the Isle of Wight to work as a sailing instructor. Sadly I had to sell my beloved Laser as I was learning the hard way: on my own and without any money. So much love and care had gone into that boat to keep her floating, so selling her is still a sore subject. Since then I worked in the yachting industry, from super yachts to sail training. I preferred the sail training and expedition work, especially working up in the higher latitudes: Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard… places I love to sail to and can visit year after year.
I cannot imagine a life without time on the water. It’s my home. Ever since I was young and first discovered that people sail around the world — and they do it all alone — it has been on my to-do list. When I first heard about the Golden Globe Race back in 2015, I was sailing with work up in Iceland. It didn’t really need thinking about but I thought I would sit on it and not make any hasty decisions, even though my mind was made up. I took a week off and drove around Iceland, and in this time I thought about the race and what it would seriously mean to do it. I signed up. I got a place, and thats when the work began, but the first hurdle was to tell my family. I had to tell my mother that I, the only daughter, was to sail around the world, solo and non-stop without any modern communications. Hmmm… Well, I figured if I could persuade my parents and brothers that this was a fantastic idea then I was well on my way to getting to the start line. I drip fed the information (can’t overload the folks with the details) and eventually they had all the info and were well onboard with this awesome project. Step one was done, the most important for me as I couldn’t do it without my families support and blessing. Step 2 was to get a boat. There are several approved for the race, I was pretty set on getting a Rustler. Nearly a year later I moved onboard Ariadne, my Rustler 36.
I needed to get to know my boat really well before a major refit for the race, so I decided to do a solo loop of the Atlantic in preparation for the yard period and the race. Starting in the U.K. and heading south across the Biscay, I stopped in Lisbon where I spent 2 months working on her before heading to Antigua via Lanzarote. After a month in Antigua fixing things I sailed to the Azores. From the Azores it’s on to Falmouth where my boat goes into a major refit to get ready for the race start in 2018.